How Quitting Wedding Photography Changed My Life

How Quitting Wedding Photography Changed My Life

There was a time in my life that weddings were my main source of income. After being laid off from my job as a scientist, my hobby soon turned into a career. When I was first starting out, I took any and every gig I could to make ends meet. However, I held a secret during that time that I would never had admitted until now. I hated weddings. 

Wedding photographers are an amazing set of people in that they have high energy, love the interactions during the dancing, and can shoot for 10 straight hours. While I loved the portrait section or even the bridal shots, the event time was simply not my cup of tea. After a few years thinking I had to take any job that paid, I switched my thinking to knowing you need to shoot what you love. If you do not, you are doing a huge disservice to your clients. Even though the clientele were coming to me for the imagery they found on my site, I was not putting the love into their day that they deserved. I became a full-time boudoir photographer for many reasons that worked for my lifestyle and my family. For years, I believed I was a horrible person for not enjoying weddings. They are a joyous occasion. So, what was my deal? 

I came across a video recently from Michael Sasser explaining the same reasons that pushed me to leave weddings many years ago. Scheduling was a major part of my push to leave weddings, and it is the first on Sasser's list as well. There is no rescheduling a wedding, so your business needs to have backup plans in case issues arise. 

Another major reason for moving into boudoir is the profit is higher over weddings. I know countless amazing wedding photographers who would argue this; however, for my own company, this did hold true. I worked better in shorter timeframes. While many will comment it's all about how you structure your pricing, the final answer is that I just could not ask higher pricing knowing my heart was not in it. 

In the end, my life changed drastically from quitting weddings. The passion for boudoir gave my clients the attention they deserved. The weight off my shoulders of the worrying if everything would align was lifted. Any photographer who has children living in a town without family knows this can be a major issue in making that wedding date. So, why did I shoot weddings in the first place? The simple reason was income. If you are shooting for fear of lack of income, just imagine how much you could make putting the effort only into the jobs you love. If you are shooting boudoir and truly love weddings, by all means, make it happen. If you are shooting weddings and your passion is with sports, why not make the leap to make your career something you look forward to every day?

Lead image by Annie Spratt on Unsplash, used under Creative Commons.

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17 Comments

Mark James's picture

I hear you. I didn't like anything that involved groups of people that I couldn't direct. I like to be in control I guess.

About 50% of the readers of this site are wedding photographers who might, and rightly so, highly disagree with this article....

Han Seoul-Oh's picture

at least it would demonstrate their passion for wedding photography, something the author obviously doesn't share and fully illustrating her point.

Michael DeStefano's picture

What evidence is there that 50% are wedding photographers?

Iain Lea's picture

Then let them disagree. If they love shooting wedding that is great for them and even more so for their clients. This articles author is simply stating what worked and did not work for her. Good honest article.

I always wondered why there are so many wedding photographers out there
and NOT ONE has specialized in divorces.

Han Seoul-Oh's picture

boom. thank you, you've identified my passion.

i specialize in divorces. my most popular are "snuff" shoots, where a divorcee is able to have an album illustrating themselves hovering over their former spouse's cold, lifeless body while holding the murder weapon of their choice.

you'd think a gun would be the most popular, but the weapon requested most is a chainsaw.

Robert Nurse's picture

For real??? WOW! I never knew this existed!!!

Rafael Orczy's picture

I'm shooting boudoir sessions and weddings as well and to be honest, while I enjoy weddings ( because I love weddings and 98% of my couples are cool, and thanks for God I can choose which couple I want to work with) but I make bigger profit on boudoirs and again, I have really good clients. So I totally understand why made the change and I wish you all the best, great clients and not too much retouching :D

Robert Nurse's picture

Would you mind if I contacted you offline? I'm curious about boudoir. It seems to fit the kind of portrait shooting I'd like to do.

user-189304's picture

Oh wow. Do you think that Dr Sambo can help me? He sounds amazing beyond words. And those photos, I am totally convinced.

Robert Nurse's picture

I'm not even a pro yet and there's subject matter that I love shooting namely one-on-one portraits. There's just something more intimate and personal about it. Even with MUA's and helpers around, it's still more intimate than groups and, God forbid, weddings which scare the hell out of me. I'll do a wedding as a second, third shooter. But, I feel for the author. In the end, do what you love.

Matthew Saville's picture

Too much stress, not enough naked women? Sounds about right...

Because weddings actually, y'know pay the bills in the majority of markets. F/T specialized (and boudoir is specialized) needs fairly large markets to succeed.

Scott Spellman's picture

It's great for all creatives to understand the work that fuels their passion instead of their wallet. I also turn down work that I do not enjoy-weddings, family, and sports. It helps to be strong and respect your own happiness.

Alberto Tanikawa's picture

I shot weddings for 12 years, and it nearly killed my passion for photography. Towards the end of that career I didn't want to pick up a camera because it felt like work. I left due to many factors, the main one being the studio I worked at (which will remain nameless) was delaying my paychecks to the point I had to leave and find another job. Which I did, and now I do not miss the anxiety I felt every time I had to go shoot a wedding - that was another big reason. I admit I learned a lot from doing weddings, and I even met some of the people that would become my friends. I now work quietly (most of the time) doing lens repairs, some of which are for wedding photographers :-)